Boston and the Commonwealth are seriously old-timey, and the ghosts of Puritan lawmakers past still haunt us today. How or why these inane decrees remain in the books is anybody’s guess. From menacing birds, to the act of love-making, here are 10 surprising laws you’ve probably broken. Since breakfast.
Pouring salt on the street
Boston City Ordinance 16-2.5 "Sprinkling Ashes, Etc., on Streets; Removal of Manure" defines craziness: "No person shall, except in accordance with a permit from the Commissioner of Public Works, or as provided in subsection 16-2.16, sprinkle, scatter, put, or place any ashes, cinders, earth, dirt, gravel, sawdust, salt, or mixture of salt, in or upon a street, or without such permit remove any manure or dirt from any street." So. Many. Questions. Especially about manure.
Messing with pigeons
Clearly the author of this law had something for pigeons, and clearly the author had never been dive-bombed while lunching in Post Office Square. Bird crap on your sub is a completely justifiable reason to go after these rats with wings. But you can’t, unless you want a $20 fine or a month of jail time. (Might still be worth it.)
Going Gronk in the middle of the street
City Ordinance 16-12.15, aka "The AntiFun Ordinance," prohibits playing ball in the street. No ordinance against walking around Boston shirtless after winning a championship though.
Singing only part of the national anthem in public
In the Commonwealth, once you start crooning the "Star Spangled Banner" in public you must commit to the whole thing. We’re not sure who’s monitoring this, but if you "stop short" the ticket might cost you $100... and it’s probably contingent on your singing ability or lack thereof (looking at you, Vince Neal.) Also, you can’t use the anthem in dance music, because it’s like soooo danceable.
Blaspheming, as in old school blaspheming
Hearkening back to the days when people really blasphemed, it’s still against the law to contumeliously (!?) reproach, deny, curse, ridicule, etc., pretty much everything contained within the Bible. Good thing we’ve let this one slide, because you'd probably land in the slammer after every Celtics game.
Swearing in Fenway or TD Garden if you’re over 16
Speaking of cursing, apparently once you turn 16 you can’t direct "any profane, obscene, or impure language" at a participant or official in a sporting event. Whoever wrote this was not familiar with the concept of sports.
Acting like a d-bag on the T
This one’s a doozy. Tons of people should be locked away for merely getting on the T. Anyone who disturbs or annoys travelers with bad language or indecent behavior is breaking the law. That would make criminals out of "Blaring Music Guy," "Incredibly Loud/Gross Personal talker," "Giant Backpack Dude" and all of these awful people.
Fornicating anywhere at any time
Naughty time with your bf of gf (or whatever you’re not calling it) is punishable by 3 months or $30. By definition, "fornication" is sex between two unmarried people. So threesomes are ok?
Playing Candy Crush in Quincy Market
Or any game, for that matter. We have markets, and there are market laws, people. Basically, if you take 16-10.4 at face value, even rocking some Candy Crush while your out-of-towners slurp chowdah in the rotunda is considered disorderly conduct. Then again, they didn’t see you decimate Peppermint Palace. Booyah!
Sleeping at Faneuil Hall
Same ordinance, same weird market laws. Lying down or sleeping near the "Hall that Faneuil Built" leads straight to Johnny Law’s bad side. However, attempting to catch some z’s in the midst of noisy street performers and noisier tourists is logistically impossible anyway.
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